Mar 312011
 

Thetimes When I'm not writing here, I've been working with a long time friend and colleague, Fred Harrison, about a new type of technical blog; one which might in time supplant (or at least supplement) the technical coverage already in The Travel Insider.  Our approach is to write articles not as monologues but as dialogs, where the two of us discuss and sometimes debate technical topics (and encouraging your own comments too, of course).

Perhaps we might become the new 'Click and Clack' (from the PBS motoring show) or the former Siskel and Ebert (movie reviewers).  Whatever the outcome, we want to present, and involve you in, discussions about technology, rather than lecture to you about issues and items that often are more matters of opinion than certain fact.

We're calling this new blog The Tech Letters.

 We've been experimenting with the format and style of this, and already have a small collection of sample articles; you're welcome to go and read through what can be considered a beta pre-release of the site.  You can sign up to receive new posts as they are written, either by email or via an RSS reader of your choice; I hope you might choose to do so.

The current topic we're discussing concerns the issue of news websites that are now hiding behind paywalls, requiring you to pay to access their news.  The New York Times, earlier this week, became the latest to try this new approach to making money online.

The concept is not new, and to date, most experiments (including an earlier one by the NY Times) have ended in failure and a return to open free publishing.

May we ask your opinion?  If confronted with a newspaper you formerly valued and regularly read, such as the NY Times or the (London, UK) Times, that now charges for access, what would you be willing to pay.  Assume, for the purpose of this survey, that if you were paying per article, there'd be some sort of automatic accounting whereby you pay perhaps $10 at a time into an account, and it then gets automatically charged out, article by article, until needing to be rebilled.

We've created a survey page here.  Your information is confidential, we don't seek your name or email or anything, so please do go ahead and share your thoughts with us.

Lastly, this is not intended as a precursor to, or research about, making The Travel Insider a pay-access site.  As I say in my discussion with Fred, for all reasons, I feel it vastly better for almost all internet publishers to keep their sites open and free as best they can.

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